HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Conquest Stables’ Conquest Big E took another step toward his 3-year-old debut in the $350,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park with an easy half-mile breeze Sunday morning.
Working in company with 6-year-old multiple graded stakes-winning gelding Kaigun, Conquest Big E went four furlongs in 49 seconds over the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County.
It was the fourth work for Conquest Big E, a gray or roan son of Grade 1 winner Tapit, since arriving in South Florida last month. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is scheduled to come in from California to ride for the first time in the Holy Bull.
“Our bigger works tend to come a couple weeks out; today was just kind of a stretch your legs day and make sure everything’s working properly and we’re happy,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He’s been training as good as a horse can train.”
Named for stable co-owner Ernie Semersky, Conquest Big E has fired two bullets at Palm Meadows, going four furlongs in 48 seconds Dec. 31, the fastest of 76 horses, and five furlongs in 1:00.60 Jan. 18, topping 49 horses.
“He worked extremely well [Jan. 18],” Casse said. “Kaigun is our old pro. They went head-and-head and Kaigun is actually a very good work horse on the dirt. I would say it probably took Kaigun a little more effort to keep up, and Big E was just galloping. It was the same thing today.”
Conquest Big E ran second in his debut, 1 ¼ lengths behind next-out Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause, before breaking through with a maiden victory going 1 1/16 miles in his subsequent start. He tracked the leaders before coming up empty in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) when finishing eighth, beaten less than five lengths, then rebounded with a two-length allowance victory Nov. 28 to close his juvenile season.
Other horses possible for the Holy Bull are undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Mohaymen; Champagne (G1) winner Greenpointcrusader, a half-length in front of Conquest Big E in the Juvenile; Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes winner Fellowship and Cherry Wine, an impressive allowance winner Jan. 9 at Gulfstream Park who worked Sunday at Gulfstream five furlongs in 1:00.88.
“My feeling has always been he trains like a really good horse and I think he’s run well, but so far in his career I think he’s an underachiever,” Casse said. “I do see things in him that make me think he is a really good horse, but he has to prove it. This will be a big test.”
Lady Shipman Targeting $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint as Season Opener
Ranlo Investments’ multiple stakes winner Lady Shipman, most recently second against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Oct. 31, is being pointed to making her 4-year-old debut in the $75,000 Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park.
The seventh running of the five-furlong grass stakes for fillies and mares 4 years old and up is scheduled for Feb. 6 on the undercard of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) and $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1).
A chestnut daughter of Midshipman, Lady Shipman won seven of 10 starts with two seconds, one third, and $513,600 in purse earnings last year for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion female sprinter, finishing third in the voting behind La Verdad and Wavell Avenue.
She was moved to the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin this winter and has had three works at Palm Meadows, most recently a half-mile breeze in 48.45 seconds Jan. 21.
“Kathleen O’Connell obviously did a great job with her. We just hope we do as good a job as she did,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t normally like to take horses from people. The owner asked us to take her in hopes of going to Dubai. It’s not like Kathleen did anything wrong. She did great with this filly.”
Lady Shipman opened 2015 with an optional claiming allowance victory on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream, then won the OBS Sprint and Stormy Blues Stakes in successive starts. She was third in the Wait a While before reeling off four consecutive summer stakes, two in New Jersey and two in New York.
She capped an outstanding year with a gutsy neck loss to Mongolian Saturday in the 5 ½-furlong BC Turf Sprint despite being bumped hard at the half-mile pole and then having to angle out five wide for a determined stretch run.
“We’ll have another work and hopefully she’ll be ready to go,” McLaughlin said. “She’s doing really well. She was training in Ocala so she doesn’t need a lot. She stays pretty fit and does everything right. She’s a real kind filly to be around.”
McLaughlin said the Ladies Turf Sprint will be used as a prep for the five-furlong, $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) March 28 on the Dubai World Cup program.
“It would be against the boys, like the Breeders’ Cup, but she’s proven she can do that,” McLaughlin said. “She’s a very talented filly.”
Mshawish Breezes for Scheduled Start in G1 Donn Handicap
Al Shaqab Racing’s Mshawish breezed a half mile in 49.31 seconds Sunday at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for a planned start in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Feb. 6.
The versatile 6-year-old, who captured the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) last season, will seek Grade 1 credentials on dirt in the 1 1/8-mile Donn on a six-stakes program that will also include the Gulfstream Turf, Fred Hooper (G3) and Suwannee River (G3), as well as the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint and the Ladies Turf Sprint.
Mshawish scored a graded–stakes win on dirt in the Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Jan. 9.
In addition to Mshawish, three stablemates – Madefromlucky, Itsaknockout and Tommy Macho – will be nominated to the Donn, the first major event for older horses in the calendar year.
“We have four that are possible. It’s possible one of those could go in the Fred Hooper,” said trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Right now we’re leaning to the Donn probably with all four.”
Source: Gulfstream Park